Federal Institute Prioritizes Human-Relevant Sepsis Research After PETA Push

PETA Preps for Lawsuit if NIH Refuses to Stop All Funding of Potentially Unlawful Sepsis Experiments on Animals

For Immediate Release:
October 23, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Md.

Following years of pressure from PETA, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences—part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—released a notice in late August stating that it will emphasize human-relevant methods for sepsis research and that experiments on mice and rats will be given a low funding priority.

Now, PETA—which is urging NIH to end sepsis experiments on animals completely—has compiled a comprehensive scientific and legal report outlining exactly why sepsis experiments on animals are potentially unlawful as well as scientifically unsound. The group has sent the report to NIH Director Francis Collins—and may consider legal action if NIH continues to fund such experiments.

Sepsis, a leading killer that’s implicated in the deaths of 270,000 people in the U.S. every year, causes the body to turn on itself, producing symptoms that include agonizing pain, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, multiple organ failure, and often death. A 2013 landmark study documented that sepsis in mice is fundamentally different from the condition in humans. At the time, Collins lamented the “loss of decades of research and billions of dollars” in the development of 150 drugs that successfully treated sepsis in mice but failed in humans. But inexplicably, NIH still directs over $100 million of funding annually to sepsis experiments on animals, in which mice and other animals are injected with toxins or feces, cut open in invasive surgeries, stitched together with other animals, force-fed harmful bacteria, and/or made to inhale a bacterial “slurry.”

PETA scientists have repeatedly urged Collins to focus resources on human-relevant methods, have organized protests, and presented the case against using animals in sepsis experiments at an international scientific conference. Following a PETA investigation at the University of Pittsburgh, where mice were found suffering horribly in sepsis experiments, NIH did not renew funding for the experimenter who was responsible.

“Any move away from sepsis tests on animals is a good move, but NIH must stop wasting taxpayer dollars and animals’ lives on these worthless tests altogether,” says neuroscientist and PETA Research Associate Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on NIH to fund exclusively useful, humane, animal-free research that might actually help human sepsis patients.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.


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